Updated Guidance on Worship
Dear Clergy,

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks for all of you every day as you invent new ways to learn, grow, and lead your congregations. I so appreciate all you are doing to follow Jesus and engage in God’s mission.

As you may know, the governor of California has created a new tiered classification system for COVID cases in California counties. The classification system includes the following tiers, listed from highest to lowest risk:

  •  Purple – Widespread
  •  Red – Substantial
  • Orange – Moderate
  • Yellow – Minimal

A county must remain in a tier for a minimum of 21 days before being able to move to a lower-risk tier.

San Diego County is the only county in southern California which is classified in the “red” tier. Imperial and Riverside Counties are in the highest-risk “purple” tier. Because of continued spread of cases in Yuma, I consider Yuma as similar risk to Imperial and Riverside Counties.

Therefore, for churches in Imperial, Riverside, and Yuma Counties, we are allowing outdoor worship only. You must have your guidelines approved by our office in order to begin outdoor worship. Please email your protocols to me and to Canon Gwynn Lynch for approval if you have not already done so.

Churches in San Diego County may now provide indoor worship in limited circumstances. Please read these guidelines carefully for details to see if your church qualifies.

  • Outdoor worship is still the preferred option. If you have adequate outdoor space to worship, I encourage you to continue with this option, as it is safer than indoor gathering.

  • If you would like to provide indoor worship, please call me at 619-359-9324 to discuss it.

  • You must have your guidelines approved by our office in advance. Please email your protocols to me and Canon Gwynn Lynch for approval if you have not done so already.

  • Our county health officer has created an additional requirement for indoor worship: You are required to record names and contact information for every person in attendance. These records will help with contact tracing in case of an outbreak.

  • I ask you to keep indoor worship services as short as possible. Research shows that gatherings are safest if kept to 30 minutes or less. Please consider eliminating optional elements and keeping the service short. You may also consider holding separate parts of the service in different parts of your facility – e.g., the Liturgy of the Word in one area and the Liturgy of the Table in another. Movement to a new space where aerosols have not accumulated will allow you to hold longer services.

  • Congregational singing is still not permitted, and we urge you to keep chanting and other cantor-led singing to a minimum, with careful (preferably 12 feet or more) distancing between any soloist or cantor and any other participant. Please refer to the materials on this page for more information about singing, provided by St. Paul’s Cathedral’s Music Director, Martin Green, for our most recent clergy call.

  •  If you have more than one service, please provide for at least 30 minutes of time between services when the worship area is vacant to allow the air to recirculate.

  • Please provide the maximum ventilation possible – opening doors and windows, etc.

  • The state requirements provide for a maximum attendance of 25% of your capacity, up to 100 people. Please consider in advance how you will enforce the capacity restriction.

Thank you again for all you are doing. I know this time has not been easy, and you have had to learn new ways of doing ministry and staying connected with your people. Many of you have had to learn skills like online streaming and video editing that you never expected to need, and many of you are working harder than ever. I am thankful for you, and I pray for you every day.

In Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Susan Brown Snook
September 28th at 3:30pm through October 1st at Noon via Zoom

All clergy in active ministry in the Diocese of San Diego (whether canonically resident or licensed) are expected to participate. If you are in this category but cannot participate, please write to Bishop Susan for an excused absence.

Retired clergy and clergy who are canonically resident in our diocese but physically resident elsewhere are invited, but not required, to participate. 

Cost: Free with optional donation to “For Such a Time as This” fund.

This year’s conference is all online, but the Clergy Enrichment Committee invites you to clear your calendar completely during our scheduled time in order to fully participate and find renewal for your heart, mind and body. We will offer presentations, discussions, free time, and games, along with worship and some time with our bishop.

When the World Falls Apart: Apocalyptic Texts for our Times
We are excited to offer several presentations from the Dean and President of Seminary of the Southwest, The Very Rev. Dr. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, on the apocalyptic texts we encounter in late Pentecost and Advent which speak to our present chaotic and tumultuous moment. Where do we find hope as preachers, congregational leaders, and human beings who are trying to live faithfully while the world is seemingly falling apart? Read More

The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego
2083 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., San Diego, CA 92107